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tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  PBS  April 15, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EDT

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funding for to the contrary provided by: additional funding provided by: this week on to the contrary: up first, romney's side of the war for women voters. then, another chance for the era? behind the headlines: a female politician who's foregoing reelection, north carolina governor bev perdue.
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hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to to the contrary, a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, ann romney defends her choice to stay home and raise her kids. presumptive republican presidential nominee mitt romney went full force for women's support this week. romney blames president obama for the recession that has placed so many women out of work. meanwhile a firestorm erupted over one cnn analyst's remarks that romney should stop citing his wife on women's issues
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because she quote "never worked a day in her life," and therefore doesn't understand women's economic concerns. the remarks prompted ann romney to post her first tweet saying: "i made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. believe me, it was hard work." >> will anne romney help her husband win the women's vote? >> she is trying but you can't put a burden on a wife to lift mitt romney out of the sinkhole is he is in on women's issues. >> she may have some ability to help because i think more and more women are feeling that women on the left are judging the choices that they are making, the choices they make, if they choose to stay home, maybe they are not the right choices. >> i don't think so. but nevermind. anne, i think will add warmth and connectedness to a candidate
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who can't connect. but in the end, it's you what said. it is romney himself who must articulate the issue who concern women but he has to give the right numbers. >> as we have seen throughout history, women are the backbone of the politicians. you have the durb wives, you have michelle obama. you had jacqueline kennedy. so the bot 078 line is, anne romney will help him win in november. >> let's get to the topic on the nation's mind this weekend, which is the remarks by cnn comitator, hillary rosen for which she has apologized saying that ann couldn't talk to women's economic concerns because she never worked a day in her life. the reaction and the response and even president obama distancing himself from hillary rosen, a democratic strategist, fair or not fair?
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>> hillary rosen will find very few women on the left agreeing with her and the president himself. just the week before at his women's sumit, had said, on economic issues, had singeled out this notion of a war on women to say, that is not where i ever come from and has separated himself even from what some, i suppose in democrats have been saying upon this issue. so you want to go to hillary rosen, it's autumn of us against hillary rosen. hard to find any democratic women who agree with her on this issue. >> women -- women who work at home and those who work outside, most women in both places don't like the choices necessarily. the women who have to stay home worry about my career, i may not have a career. those who work outside the home, say i probably would be a better mother. this is like our anxiety, ongoing anxiety. nobody wins when you make comments like that.
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it's totally inappropriate and -- >> but it has been skewed towards rose en slamming women who do choose to become full-time home makers. 95% of women have a choice or not a choice. they are either lucky now have enough money in their family so they can stay home or they have children and they can afford to stay home so they have to leave them. but, that was really what her remarks were about? she was -- anne romney, whatever she is n-a financial category that she is not in the 1%, she is in the .0001%. romney has been using her politically, which all spouses do, but every time he raises, well, i have to talk to anne about that.
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>> they're partners. >> okay but my point is, if they are not something to be said for the fact that anne romney financially, forget about what choices she's made but financially, cannot relate to most women because her economic class is so far above everybody else's and her choices are so different from everybody elses. >> i'm not sure it's not going to resonate with people. i think that women will know one way or the other, if you're at home, you're paying for the groceries, paying for gass bills, you're doing the house budget. people won't necessarily, i think fault her for being wealthy. they're probably will look at her and say if i could stay home and have that nice big house, id like that too. >> and the 20 jeeps and cadillacs. >> that doesn't take away from the fact that whether they are at home or in the board room, they are aware the economic pressures facing american families today. and i think in that regard,
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hillary rosen really is less stay-at-home moms as career homes versus the rest of mercka. >> washington elite? we had spouses of rich candidates, laura bush, jacqueline kennedy, but wealth was never held up, for some reason, as something that divided them from other people. they managed to convey somehow a connectedness with the concerns. can so all americans -- the last bush too, was able to do that for instance. romney can't. leans so much more that probably wouldn't have been -- your touch have been -- your touchstone, if you will, if he were able to somehow understand the economic pain that all americans, women and men, are suffering, but especially women, in households now that are so cramped for money. but you know what? let's try to address women's issues. he can do as much of that as possible but there is going to be a republican convention where conservatives will push for a
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platform that will tie romney to positions regarding women, for instance, that may be difficult for him to move to try to address the gender gap. >> you know, it's a shame that we have to sit here and even debate this because we should have the choice, if we want to be at home moms or want to work and not have to justify it. to me, that is the problem. that now ann romney has to justify, yes, i didn't go to a 9-5 job, but i raised five boys. i raised one boy and that was hard work. [ laughter ] >> the woman on the -- as a child-free by choice woman, on the other side of that equation, and we're -- 20% of americans are not having children. we have to justify why we say what is wrong with you? >> he shouldn't have done this to his wife. he should use her for what she is. if, in fact, he has women on his
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staff, he could point to that say, my chief of staff or my policy director, that would be a whole lot more interesting toy,y policy director, that would be a whole lot more interesting to women than hearing him constantly refer to his wife. >> it can be overdone but it is endearing. for me personally, he seems sincere. i have seen different on politicians whether male or female and -- . >> whether he's sincere or not -- >> it really seems like he really values her opinion. >> you can value her ot -nion bt not lean on her constantly to decide -- . [ multiple speakers ] >> look at how president obama -- they have all done it. >> if he keeps calling out his wife, then of course people are going to look to her in a political way that they would have not before. so you know, the way in which candidates see their wife jokingly or with respect to what they do at home, they don't constantly refer to them in
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policy terms because they than will make the wife a target as well as the candidate. >> all right. let us what you know think. please follow me on twitter@bonnie erbe. from women speaking out to equal rights for all. another shot at an equal rbe.hts amendment? it's been forty years since the era was sent to states and thirano years since the deadline for states to ratify the constitutional amendment which gives women & men equal rights under us law. maryland senator ben cardin wants to remove the deadline for states to ratify the era. he says the time is now. >> i think it's very important that we have the fundamental protection in our constiatestion on equal rbe.hts for women. we've seen women's rights under attack at all levels and i think its important that the . hndamental protection be in or constitution. the interesting thing that justice scalia noted that our constiatestion does not require dindarimination against women bt it does not protect it either and it's itatortant that this
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nation deal with that . hndamental issue. >> the equal rights amendment passed in 35 states---three states short of the 38 required to add it to the constitution. but cardin and other senators hope three more states will sign on. >> i try to figure out why someone would be against in 2012 saying that women have equal righal a. i just can't prnderstand any opposition to it. but clearly there are those who are going to try to prevent this from happe reng. we hope that we have the majority of the senate and the house that are prepared to move forward and then all the last fifteen states to take this issue up. >> do you think this is what we need in the er florida. >> i do not. i think we are protected under the civil righal a acts of 1964 and numerous federal staatestes. i think that sometimes there are
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unintended consequences of e this and people forget this this would prohibite kind of gender segregation that sometimes we want, for the boy ndaoual a, girl scouts, single x education. i think everyone at this table are sometimes beneficial. >> you're righ ta that's really what sto01ed it. and by 1982, people were able to conjure up just those %snds of things. but let me say why i think this is coming up. why would they be talking about ledgeivation that these republican legislators and some in the house and senate, comes up with an amendment that says you can not -- an employer any time he wants to for no reason, can deny health benefial a if it offends his conscious. he had in mind cont acception.
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heuented beyond that. they had done it it to themselves and because they have done it, people are now pass era in the 70s at the height of the feminist movement coundy y is horribly divided and far more conservativive, you're not going to finally get a breakthrough even if they do extend the deadline. so what we have done in the interim as you cch as many of prs want an era, we hnsc pretty good progress on legislation to address these matters but whether you get arizona, for examplled the equal pay act to invite people say let's go back to the er. >> it's political gains. >> no, it's not a little a polil gain. let me tell you, because i fought for. fought for. this you have to understand that touchstone for equal rights for women in this country. you say, the civil righal a act
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and this act and that act. they are only twice somehow squeeze gend ear -to taú >> let me ask you, what are women missing at not having -- even justice scalia, the most conservativive or justice thomas as well, they are like a pair. said that women aren't protected as a a separate class under the constitution. how do women lose if we don't have an era? >> the laws that have been passed in the mention are passed in the mention are repealable. permanent touchstone, that is exactly what the supreme court laws brought or cases brought before then r you know, i fody yht in that figh ta and it was painful. you have to go state-by-state and get two-thirds votes of those state legieeratures to coe within three states, incredibly painful.
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we spent millions. and so it's very hard to have somebody just say, really? we don't need -- we don't need -- >> i want concrete terms. repeeled equal pay act? ind -- let me be frank. i'm for the era and i do agree. the major reason i'm for it is not that there are so many laws, it's precisely you have already seen repeals of some women's legieeratiojustice watching. what do -- so women in arizona, because there is no era iú isú arira,na woman can letially be paid in the same exact job that the guy next door? >> no. it's a federal lyog. >> it's federal. federal can dictate, so to speak
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there is a federal lyog that sas equal pay for equal work. so even though the state has bpealed, it there are protection far as women under the law. and i agree, we don't need to have the constitutionaimeú ederal lyogs available for women to sue based on sex discrimination or monetary xt ndarim nation. and personally, i do believe it's a political ploy. i mean, senator scarred run reng for senate in maryland and i think he is starting to be concerned about i have to bring something to the forefront that attacking women. because pub cans aren't but when we talked about the not only the conservative women but also moderate and liberal, catholic women, who were o01osed to i ta >> really? >> yes. and let me tell new, i add one
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thing? >> if you want to run for reatiolection you don't choose e era as a platform to become popular. >> one thing that is prpset being this kind of letiislation is it helps to fuel the idea that society, workplace, are hostile and at some times - that w. [ multiple speakers ] >> justice scalia said, women don't have equal protection with men under the constiatestion without an era. he said it. i'm not saying i ta >> it's not a equal statemen ta >> it ubsn't his opinion it's right or wrong. it's making a statement. [ multiple caueakerspu >> the wowsbirust said that womn are becoming the bread winners their home. they make 50% of the workforonld out performing men educationally and professionally. women are doing so well -- . [ you chelm tle speakerspu >> e becation alley but not professionally. >> they are. they have raised -- >> what are you on? for goodness sakes, we have 14 women ceos out of 500.
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>> the era wouldn't -- >> that's righ ta >> that's not a constiatestional isulde. we need to have a serious discussion that we do have to boil it down to what is i ta and that is what is most difficult. you hit upon it or touched upon bunch in the state houses and in the congress, don't think that couldn't h bpejustice >> all behind the hea eines. governor bev perdue. instead of seeking re-election, the north carolina democrat plans to campabe.n for high quality education after she leaves the office. north carolina's fbout st female goverimor bev per bee started her career as a teacher. but it was her work in the 1980s with sick elderly citizens that led her to seboi p01olic office. >> when i first ran, i was working at a hospita-e
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i have a phd and ended prp talectng care of really old sick people and got frustrated with medicaid. office at a time in the late 80s when men, especially in my part of the state in nc said women xt dn't belong anywhere but in lecttchen. >> so began perdue's political career. first as the elected member of north carolina's house of representatives, then lieutenant governor and eventually as goverimor of north carolina. goverimor per bee has woan eraed to expand children's health care coverage and raise teachers' salaries. salaries. then, in february 2012, stiter decided she wouldn't run for reatiolectiojustice >> i don't call it retbout inroo not going to retire. i'm just not going to run for office anymore. >> there's lots of spedoilation about peroughue's decision not o run. critics say her unpopular stands, uldch as raising the sales tax to pay for e becation have cost her voter support. others say her democratic party presuldred her not to run due to dret n fng poll numbers.
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perdue says she refuses to play partisan politics. >> in north carolina, and i think in washington as well, the environment is so rabidly toxic, where many of the players in the senate and the house in both congress and my general assembly care much more about winning the election and the politics than they do in solsupng the challenges that our states and countries have. say she has chamn foned educatin for more than 3 decades. she has personal reasons for her education fodois. high-school graduates. an e becation, which led her to evenatesally become the first woman governor of north carolina. >> i couldn't have been there but for somebody else who made
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sure that i had a great teacher who had a good salary who cared about me and mnsce uldre i hnsce ab[ity to get a college scholarship and go on to a public university. that's the passion that's soivn me all these years. >> she is yet to announce what her plans are specifically when it comes to education nscjustic, but perdue says she will pursue her passion to transform the education system. >> north carolina has one of the most highly rated pre-k programs in america. we had written the book on the >>k is for children who are at risk and the general assembly has consistently refused to litnd those programs. there's nobody out there in north carolina to speak of in the rsiblic arena saying, stand up and for schools. i intend to lead that drive. >> do you think she can be as effective lobbying for qhosli if education in her state outside
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the governor's office as in? >> yes. i mean the three of us here are advicuates and congresswoman, in her office, yes, you can. given the visibility she she cajustice but there is nothing like being in the position of power, to be able to merae the nee tioven more.e the nee governors. so, as somebody who could be pushing to be in political pushing to be in political office, i see those numbers. whatever it is, whether it's government or business. >> so is this -- >> is there officially this year, when in the last electiofú or the fbout st timled the nshef women in the state houses and in congress go down, is this a e for her to be
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>> because there are so few visible stelic down, it's anotr signal that is not something they want to do. so there have been satesxt es we did that show when a woman ran for office, tell that office stf perceptions -re múoffice the huffing ton post, political office isn't for everyone. this many years and she has been effective in her own right. but there is many, many ubthey that women can influence the political landscape. >> of course. es put i think we somete. too much etat sis achieverrin tú parity in politics rather than saying she could have a soamaticism pact by et eningtoa steem.mosng shooffior a think tr grassroots organization or as a writer or any ny aody of ways -- >>
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[ -vhelm tle spearoerspu >> can say something, it's stne of the reasons that she --ú decision, she cannot win. education purposes during her term at a time when everybody else was doing exact let et parsite. she is in a state which has become a model in the south for higher e becation but she com pabout s her statled for es rta, with the other upsouth state, virginia, where they also are a becation. she sees that north carolina is not there and she knew that they sacrifice her option for another ubnts to dot princm tal thing full-blown. >> i have to say, i hate to say this, but -allyi have always fel
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this way, whether it's male or female representative, governor, i'm not pro tech, but she made a stand and decided that her statement to raise tascs. i don't agree with thaso f and obviously a lot of her people didn't. people didn't. but she stood on princm tal. she's a woman. that to me, that speaks much eraernors are sayin thoúmuch >> courage. >> courage that's it for this ext tion of o the contrary. neart week: mandatory e-verify. please follow me on twitter at and check our website, whether you agree or think, to the contrary, pleasethat tin pns e.xt te.
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